SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Trevor Parsons, Sean Houghton, Glenn Rossman, Ignacio M. Llorente, Xenia von Wedel

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Merger of ReadyNation and America's Edge Will Create a Unified Voice to Mobilize Business Champions for Proven Investments in Children and Youth

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - February 04, 2014) - On February 18th, two preeminent national initiatives that mobilize business leaders to champion investments in children to improve the nation's economy will join forces. ReadyNation, currently a project of America's Promise Alliance (America's Promise), will merge with America's Edge, a project of the Council for a Strong America. 

The combined entity, under the Council for a Strong America umbrella, will be the largest of its kind in the United States. Work of the two organizations will continue under both names during the transition, until the merged entity's name is determined this summer. Dr. Sara Watson, currently executive vice president for partner engagement at America's Promise and director of ReadyNation, will join the Council for a Strong America to direct the combined entity. Susan Gates, who has been a strong and effective leader for America's Edge for the past four years, and her husband are moving out of the Washington, DC area to pursue new opportunities. 

America's Edge and ReadyNation both identify, mobilize and support business leaders to educate the public and state and federal policymakers about investments in children that strengthen the nation's economy by enabling at-risk children to become productive adults. These efforts are essential to building the future workforce our nation requires in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.

David Kass, President of the Council for a Strong America, said: "I am so grateful to Susan Gates for her tireless work and for increasing our network of business leaders from 66 to almost 1,000. I am also thrilled to welcome Sara Watson and ReadyNation to our family. Leveraging the strengths of both initiatives will dramatically increase our ability to empower industry leaders as champions of policies that improve the long-term success of the nation's businesses by enabling children and young adults to thrive."

John Gomperts, president and chief executive officer of America's Promise, said, "We have been delighted to work with ReadyNation to demonstrate the impact of quality early childhood development and education on improving the nation's high school graduation rates. The Council for a Strong America is a valued Alliance partner, and we look forward to continuing our work with them and ReadyNation on these important issues."

Founded in 2008, America's Edge has nearly 1,000 business leaders who work to strengthen the economy by advocating for proven investments in children and youth. ReadyNation, founded in 2006 by Watson and business leader Robert H. Dugger, championed effective investments in young children. Originally known as the Partnership for America's Economic Success, it was based at The Pew Charitable Trusts while Watson directed Pew's national pre-kindergarten campaign.

ReadyNation has worked with more than 1,200 business executives at the national level and in 30 states to engage executives in support of the nation's youngest learners. Last year, ReadyNation published a statement in Politico in support of federal investments in early childhood, signed by 35 senior executives, including the current or former leaders of Procter & Gamble, Macy's, PNC, and Xerox. 

"Combining these two entities will make it easier for business leaders to speak out, and for policymakers to hear the business perspective on creating the workforce of the future," Watson said. "This will help provide more skilled employees to businesses and put children on the path to success." 

The Council for a Strong America is the umbrella nonprofit for five membership organizations comprising the unique and powerful voices of business, military, law enforcement, faith and sports leaders who work together to prepare young Americans for success.

America's Promise Alliance is the nation's largest cross-sector partnership of more than 350 corporations, nonprofits, faith-based organizations and advocacy groups working together to improve the lives of children. The signature initiative of America's Promise is the GradNation Campaign, which aims to raise the nation's high school graduation rate to 90 percent by 2020.

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